JURIST Legal News

JURIST's legal news service, powered by a team of over 40 law student reporters and editors led by Professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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Abortion rights groups filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Thursday that seeks an injunction against against a Texas law that bans a common method of second-trimester abortions. The complaint was filed in response to Senate Bill 8 [materials], which was signed in law [JURIST report] in June by Texas Governor Greg Abbott [official website]. The bill bans second trimester dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures, a safe and widely used method that can be performed in an outpatient setting. Whole Woman's...
[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] accused [AI report] Cameroon of torturing suspected supporters of Boko Haram in a report released Thursday. According to the human rights organization, hundreds of suspects were "subjected to severe beatings, agonizing stress positions and drownings, with some tortured to death" at the hands of government authorities. AI documented 101 cases of secret detention and torture within the last four years. Alioune Tine, Amnesty International's Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said "[t]hese horrific...
[JURIST] Thailand's Supreme Court [official website] sentenced opposition leader Jatuporn Prompan to one year in prison for defaming Thailand's current prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva [BBC Profile]. Jatuporn, a leader of the "red shirt" opposition party, which supports two of Thailand's formerly ousted prime ministers, was convicted [Reuters report] for calling Abhisit a "murderer" during a rally. Abhisit said [Bangkok Times report] that Jatuporn's statement damaged his reputation. The Supreme Court, overruling two lower court decisions, said that Jatuporn was guilty...
[JURIST] The Polish Parliament [official website] approved a bill on Thursday that will implement sweeping reforms to the country's judicial system. Most notably, the bill will allow members of parliament to appoint Supreme Court judges, a move that the EU, many Polish lawyers, and citizens of Poland strongly opposed. The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party [party website, in Polish] pushed the bill through just days after thousands of people [JURIST report] rallied in Warsaw to protest what has been...
[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) together with the FBI [official websites] have seized and shut down [DOJ press release] AlphaBay, a criminal marketplace on the "dark web" on Thursday. The site, which has reportedly been operating on the dark web for the last two years, was used to sell numerous illicit products including illegal narcotics, computer hacking tools, malware, firearms, fraudulent identification documents, counterfeit products, and toxic chemicals. A majority of the business done on the site involved...
The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Wednesday reversed [holding, PDF] the Trial Chamber's "Decision on Laurent Gbagbo Detention," thereby ordering continued detention until the Trial Chamber carries out a new review of his release. As the former Ivory Coast president, Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] has been detained since 2011 and currently faces charges for crimes against humanity. Gbagbo appealed the Trial Chamber's decision to deny his request for release. The Appeals Chamber...
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced on Wednesday that it is reviving a provision of the federal civil asset forfeiture program, which was suspended [JURIST report] in September 2015. The DOJ is reviving a portion of this program in response to President Donald Trump's order to reduce crime because asset forfeiture diminishes organized crime. Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlined the changes to the program that will help better protect law-abiding citizens. Any state or local law enforcement...
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday affirmed in part [order, PDF] a ruling by the US District Court for the District of Hawaii [official website] concerning the scope of the Trump administration's travel ban. The state of Hawaii filed a brief [PDF] on Tuesday in response to the government's request that the US Supreme Court clarify who can enter the US while the order in is place. Earlier this month, a judge for the US District Court for...
UN Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official website] on Tuesday expressed concerns [UN report] that the Libyan National Army (LNA) has committed and will continue to commit summary executions of men that have been taken prisoner. Through a spokesperson, Hussein stated that the alarm over the worsening human rights conditions in the nation was heightened after recent fighting in Benghazi. Reports of torture and videos of summary executions by LNA officials have surfaced beginning as early as...
California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] has been credited [press release] with pushing through legislation Monday to extend the state's cap and trade program another 10 years. Bills AB 398 and AB 617 [materials] were passed by the California legislature with the support of more than 150 community leaders and groups, including those of environmental and public health. The program is aimed at reducing green house gas levels to 40% below the 1990 level statewide. The program is also crafted...
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte [BBC profile] asked Congress on Tuesday to extend his order of martial law for the lower third of the country. Duterte declared martial law [JURIST report] on the island of Mindanao in May when heavily armed militants linked to the Islamic State [BBC profile] took over large parts of Marawi City, a provincial capital in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. More than 500 people have been killed in the fighting that has taken place since the...
A Turkish court on Tuesday ordered that six human rights activists, including Amnesty International's (AI) [advocacy website] Turkey Director, remain in custody pending trial for allegedly aiding an armed terrorist group. The activists were arrested [AI press release] on July 5 during a training workshop and are "suspected of 'committing crime in the name of a terrorist organization without being a member.'" According to AI: The bizarre accusations include attempts to link Idil Eser with three unrelated and opposing terrorist...
A US appeals court ruled [opinion, PDF] on Monday that a nondisclosure requirement in the National Security Letters (NSL) [text] law does not conflict with the First Amendment. Therefore the court also concluded that private companies that are issued an NSL by the FBI [official website] must also follow the nondisclosure requirement if the letter contains it in that case. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] heard the case with Judge Sandra Ikuta delivering the...
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusett [official website] on Monday held [opinion, PDF] that a woman who was fired from her job for testing positive for medically prescribed marijuana could sue her former employer for handicap discrimination. The employee in this case was prescribed medical marijuana to combat the low appetite that she experienced due to Crohn's Disease. The court's decision overturned a prior dismissal of the employee's claim for handicap discrimination and will allow her to proceed with the...
Opposition parties petitioned the Pakistan Supreme Court [official website] on Monday to remove Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office after the joint investigation team's (JIT) report [text] stipulated that there was sufficient proof that the prime minister and his family held wealth beyond their known means of income. The JIT was created in April when the Supreme Court rejected [JURIST report] disqualifying Sharif from office stating the evidence was insufficient. A special bench consisting of three justices will review the...
The Russian Supreme Court [official website, in Russian] on Monday upheld its ruling ordering the disbanding of the Jehovah's Witnesses. In denying an appeal by the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Supreme Court affirmed [TASS report] that their previous ruling will remain in place and unchanged. The prior ruling was considered the Jehovah's Witnesses to be an extremist organization because it distributed pamphlets that promoted hatred of other denominations, such as the Russian Orthodox Church. The order for disbanding took place immediately...
Thousands of people rallied in Warsaw, Poland on Sunday to protest controversial proposals aimed at reforming the country's court system. The demonstration comes as a response [Reuters report] to a series of bills passed by Poland's Senate [official website] over the last week that many fear are a threat to judicial independence. The bills give parliament, where the Law and Justice (PiS) party [party website, in Polish] holds the majority, a greater role in selecting judges. One of the proposed...
Millions of Venezuelans voted on Sunday to reject President Nicolás Maduro's plan to rewrite the nation's constitution. The non-binding referendum was organized [NPR report] by the country's opposition activists. More than 7 million individuals, roughly one-third of Venezuela's registered voters, took part with over 98 percent rejecting Maduro's plan [JURIST report]. Many have accused the efforts for a constitutional rewrite to be undemocratic and a way to suppress the months of anti-government protests against Maduro's presidency. Maduro states [Miami Herald...
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [advocacy website] released a report [text, PDF] Monday condemning an increase in civilian deaths in Afghanistan during the first half of 2017. Although there was an overall decrease in civilian casualties in the first six months of 2017, there was an increase in injuries and deaths from improvised explosive devices (IED). IEDs from anti-government forces, the majority of which are suicide bombs, account for 40 percent of all civilian casualties in the beginning...
A judge for the Superior Court of California [official website] postponed a decision Friday for injunctive relief to block Toshiba Corporation [official website] from selling its flash memory business in an attempt to relieve losses from the nuclear reactor business. As per a joint venture with Western Digital which helps finance equipment at Toshiba's plants, Western Digital has also invoked separate arbitration proceedings. Judge Kahn [Washington Times profile] delayed the ruling on the injunction and instead proposed that Toshiba be...

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